Danny Wilson has paid tribute to Sam Warburton after he led the British & Irish Lions to a bittersweet drawn series with New Zealand.
Warburton led his pride of Lions into the deciding Test with the series levelled at one-all and the stalemate continued as the thrilling encounter finished 15-15.
It meant the spoils were shared at Eden Park and the 1971 Lions remain the only tourists to have secured a series triumph in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
But nonetheless Warburton led the Lions to their second best result in New Zealand and he remains undefeated as a Lions Test series captain following the triumph in Australia in 2013.
Wilson said: “It’s a great achievement for Sam, and the British & Irish Lions collectively, and all of us at Cardiff Blues are very proud.
“Going to New Zealand is undoubtedly the toughest tour and against the back-to-back world champions the Lions were not given much of a chance. The fact that they came so close to a series win deserves huge credit.
“I was very impressed with Sam throughout. He didn’t have the ideal build-up to the tour or the Test matches but he got better and better. On Saturday at Eden Park we all saw the quality of Sam and what he brings.”
Much has been made of Warburton’s leadership and ability to communicate with officials in the aftermath of Saturday’s draw.
With the clock ticking down New Zealand were awarded what could have been a match-winning penalty after Ken Owens caught the ball in an offside position.
But the Cardiff Blues ace managed to convince referee Jerome Garces to look again and following a number of TMO replays, he downgraded the penalty to a scrum and the Lions survived.
Wilson added: “Leadership is one of the qualities that set Sam apart. He leads by example in terms of his work-rate and discipline both on and off the pitch and others follow.
“In a Lions team you are surrounded by other players with captaincy experience, whether for club or country, and I’ve always said one of Sam’s great strengths is his ability to use, tap into and call on the leadership around him.
“He’s always had a good rapport with referees, just because of the manner in which he communicates. But we’re all delighted for Sam and are looking forward to having him back with Cardiff Blues following a well-deserved break.”
Don't forget you can join Sam Warburton at Cardiff Arms Park with a Season Membership for the 2017-18 campaign. Buy yours today and support the British & Irish Lions captain in his regional colours at Cardiff Blues!